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Randolph students to debate pandemic ethics during VFIC Ethics Bowl

Ethics Bowl teammates, from left to right, Delaney Scott ’23, Jordyn Shumpert, ’25, and Sofia Forshey ’24 during a recent practice. Not pictured: Elizabeth Bailey ’25.

Four students from Randolph College will be deliberating about pandemic ethics next week during the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges’ (VFIC) 22nd annual statewide collegiate Ethics Bowl.

The students—Elizabeth Bailey ’25, Sofia Forshey ’24, Delaney Scott ’23, and Jordyn Shumpert, ’25—will go head–to-head against other teams, looking at case studies that highlight ethical dilemmas related to the pandemic. The competition will be held Jan. 30 and 31 at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland.

“Four new, strong, enthusiastic team members have risen to the occasion this year,” said comparative philosophy professor Kaija Mortensen, who is leading the team along with media and culture professor Jennifer Gauthier. “They bring a wealth of competitive public speaking experience as well as a passion for philosophical debate. They have developed an excellent deliberation and presentation pattern that will serve them well in competition.”

Team members established those connections through weekly practices on campus during Session 2. They’ve continued to meet virtually this month during the last part of winter break—another way this year’s theme resonates.

“We have all been making difficult ethical decisions throughout this pandemic, so in some ways, the team is better prepared than they have ever been, because they have been living these ethical dilemmas themselves,” Mortensen said. “Even the decision to attend the competition at all, and the logistics of doing so, were occasion for ethical debate among the team members. Luckily, we were able to arrive at a way to participate that helps us all feel safe.”

The Ethics Bowl begins with an opening session on Sunday, Jan. 30, at 2:30 p.m., with the first rounds scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Rounds three and four will begin at 8:45 a.m. Monday, Jan. 31, with the final round at 11:20 a.m. and winners announced by 12:30 p.m.

As part of the competition, many notable individuals from a variety of career fields including business, law, education, finance, journalism, and others listen to team presentations and offer reactions to the students’ presentations.

Founded in 1952, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges is a nonprofit fund-raising partnership supporting the programs and students of 15 leading independent colleges in the Commonwealth: Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin University, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, University of Richmond, Virginia Wesleyan University and Washington & Lee University. For additional information on the VFIC, visit

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